WBKO First Alert

Referee Attacked by Parent

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

A little league basketball game looked more like a football game over the weekend. This past Saturday morning a referee had to fight off an irate parent.

During a fifth grade little league game in Adair County. It all started when a fight broke out between two players in the game, but during halftime when the referee decided to eject the players, a parent stepped in and got physical with referee.

The police tell us that Robby Shelton is the father of one of the boys playing in the game. They say they were called to Adair County Middle School when reports of an altercation between Shelton and the referee, Tom Opdenbrouw, were called in.

Officer Justin Claywell, of Columbia Police department says, "The emotions run extremely high, especially in little league ball games, well, in fact, in any ball game period. Unfortunately referees are sometimes the brunt of that frustration. And parents get into the game so much that referee whether he makes a call (good or bad) receives the brunt of that frustration."

WBKO has also learned that Robby Shelton is a coach for the Adair County School system.

Meanwhile, the referee is the women's softball and bowling coach at Lindsey Wilson College. He says he has been working in sports for 30 years and has never seen this kind of reaction.

Tom Opdenbrouw, attacked official, says, "I think that's the one area of sportsmanship that I'm concerned with. Finding out that he is a teacher and a lot of the boys on the opposite team are in his class. I think that shows just an absolute horrible message to the kids."

Third degree assault on a sports official.

The superintendent of Adair County Schools, Darryl Trease, says that since Shelton was at the game as a parent and not as a school he is not being suspended at this time. Trease did say that the school board is looking into the incident.


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